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Christmas Traditions for Children Review by Jenny Thomas

Betty Ward Cain
Bedford Publications
2201 Heritage Place Drive NW
Cleveland, TN 37312

Christmas Traditions for Children, written by Betty Ward Cain, is a book intended to help parents guide children through the Advent season with poems, prayers, and crafts. The book begins with a section of acronyms having to do with Jesus. Children can recite the sentences and then figure out that the first letter of each sentence forms a new statement about Jesus (for example, the second set of sentences spells out "Jesus' Hands Were Gentle"). In this section, there is a set of "love coupons" that can be reproduced so that a child can give them to his family members.

The next part of the book helps children and parents set up a Chrismon tree. Each Chrismon also includes a poem, a prayer, and a pattern to cut out and use to make the actual Chrismon to hang on the tree. The last section of the book is about creating an Advent wreath. It includes poems and prayers for each candle to light in the wreath.

With this book, Betty Ward Cain strives to give children and parents a program to follow for the days leading up to Christmas. She really has a heart for leading children to Christ, and it shows in her work. The best thing about this book is its focus on Jesus as the reason we celebrate Christmas. Getting your children involved in making a Chrismon tree and an Advent wreath are good ways to help them remember what Christmas is all about. I think this book is best suited for younger children, since it just scratches the surface on these traditions and what they mean. I do think that the poems, for the most part, were nicely written and would be fun to add to your Christmas devotional times.

Though I like what the author wants to achieve with this book, there are a few changes I would like to see made to it. The acronym section could have probably been left out. The statements about Jesus had no real flow to them and contained some errors in punctuation and grammar. I would like to have seen more background information about the traditions included in the book. The "crafts" that the author talks about in the description of the book just barely fit the definition of the word craft. The child is instructed to cut out each Chrismon pattern and then decorate it with gold glitter. I was pretty disappointed not to find more craft ideas in this book. Overall, the book just left me wanting more out of it. For this reason, I do not feel that the book is worth the price the author is asking customers to pay for it.

I believe that Betty Ward Cain tried to put a book together that would help families put Christ in the center of their Christmas celebrations. This is a great goal. I'm just not sure she achieved it with this book. I'm sorry to say that I will not be recommending Christmas Traditions for Children.

Product Review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010